The Transformative Power Of Tapas

Lean Into Discomfort

Practice can sometimes reveal more about where our problems ARE rather than how great everything is. EEK! 😱

And that my friends is why Yoga, practiced as it’s meant to be, is not a soft option, or for the faint of heart. Because every practice must have an element of grit, friction, heat. In other words, we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

That is what the tradition calls Tapas. Tapas, derived from the Sanskrit root “tap,” means to burn or create heat. In the context of Tantric Hatha Yoga, Tapas refers to the disciplined effort and fiery enthusiasm cultivated through yogic practices to ignite a transformative inner fire. 

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Unlocking Transformation Through Yoga Tapas Practices

You won’t necessarily realise this is how your practice should roll. A lot of us first come to class just looking for a good stretch. And that’s fine. But that would be a stretch class – not Yoga.

For Yoga, (which is a state of wholeness and union), to be accomplished there is some serious work to be done on our inner self. Facing what needs to be faced, uncovering what needs to be uncovered, and moving closer to a truer sense of who we are.

What is Tapas?

Tapas involves disciplined practices such as asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), and meditation. These practices generate heat in the body, purifying it physically and mentally. The purification process releases stored tension, negative emotions, and mental patterns, allowing for a more profound self-awareness.

Our problems, our habits, our resistance to do the work, our complaining rigid mind, our disconnected, inflexible body – all need to come to the surface, to be witnessed and ultimately worked on – sustainably, consistently (and lovingly) over time.

Journey Within: Unmasking and Transforming Our Inner Landscape

This is really what is meant when we talk about the purification and fortification stages of the Hatha Yoga journey. Our work is to go in with all the tools and technology of the tradition to bring light to what’s going on ‘under the hood’ so to speak.

Where and why are we at odds with ourselves? Where is the dissatisfaction, the imbalance? What’s at its root? And then, through our ritual of practice, we begin to purify our perception of life and who we are until it better reflects our true nature, our true self, unbounded, free of conditioning, fear, and doubt.

The more we realise what we are not, the closer we come to realising who or what we truly are.

This is the reason we work so hard to train the mind into stillness. It’s not to withdraw from life, ignore and turn away from it. But to create a clearer mirror that will reflect it back, in full technicolour, ultra-high-definition focus.

We learn to find the strength to hold ourselves steady and observe what is. Lean into the discomfort and overcome the resistance to do the work so we can move anything from where it is to where we want it to be. That is when we really get to transform.

Navigating Discomfort: The Essence of Yoga’s Tapas in Daily Life

When you practice with us at our studio or online, you are part of a community and a lineage that will be there to remind you of your love to practice, your love for yourself, and your desire to reach your full potential. Especially when you feel you’ve really had enough of being held to the heat of the flames of life and practice.

But there are other rewards:

  1. You might realise you are capable of more than they initially believed, breaking through self-imposed limitations. 

  2. You may experience a profound connection between your mental state and physical sensations during the practice. 

  3. You might realise that discomfort and challenges are opportunities for personal growth rather than obstacles. 

  4. You may experience a profound sense of presence and mindfulness during the practice, leading to a state of heightened awareness and mindfulness.

  5. You might also experience the release of emotional or physical tension stored in the body. 

  6. And then there’s the possibility of feeling a sense of unity and connection with others in the class. Thanks to the shared effort and energy created during group Tapas practices. 

Now that’s why Yoga as a complete practice, taught as it was meant to, has power!

Tapas can be introduced in class in many ways – holding postures for longer, using breath retentions appropriately, bandhas (energy locks). It’s a big mistake to confuse this challenge of inviting Tapas as purely a physical one.

Try observing your thoughts and sensations in the stillness between postures – because the power of Tapas is at work here too.

Tantric Hatha Yoga’s Alchemy: Tapas as the Catalyst for Self-Transformation

In summary, in Tantric Hatha Yoga, Tapas is this alchemical process that transforms the raw materials of our body and mind into a refined state, facilitating the awakening of higher consciousness.

The intentional and disciplined effort involved in Tapas is not merely a physical exercise but a spiritual journey that leads to profound self-transformation and realisation of one’s true nature.

If you want to learn more, accelerate your personal growth, uplevel your practice, follow us, and check out our class and event timetable.

And if you’re interested in joining us for our next guided online 30-day guided cleanse – click here. It starts Jan 23, 2024, and is just £69 for the 30-day program.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll catch you on the next podcast.